Old book love – new chapter: Itty bitty books!!

You KNOW how I love old books.  Crafting with the pages and decorating with them.  I found this cute little shelf with itty bitty books on it several years ago:

P1110321I really just wanted the BOOKS, but they were glued to the shelf so I had to buy the whole thing.

P1110322I had never seen books that small (other than the ‘novelty’ type friendship and love books you find at Hallmark stores) so I was inspecting them closely to see if I could find any clues as to where or how I might find more of these precious little nuggets.

P1110323To my amazement and wonderment I realize that they are REGULAR size books that have been ‘chopped down’!!!  Whoddathunk?!?!?  They were VERY well glued in place so I succumbed to selling them ‘as found’.   But they never sold.  So I bought them home and decided I’d again attempt to get them off the shelf so I could remove the covers.

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About an hour (and a few curse words) later, I had some beautiful NEKKID itty bitty books!!!  I love them so SO much!  I want MORE.  Oh Michaellllllllllllllllllllllllllllll . . . . “Do you think you could chop down some old books for me?”

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I showed him the ones I had bought and we pondered how they might have been cut down.   I finally concluded that it was probably done on a commercial paper cutter; like a book binder would have.  So then we mulled over the power tool options that we thought might work, and he decided to try the chop saw.  With no guarantees.  I was more than willing to sacrifice a book or two if it ultimately meant I could have more itty bitty book bundles!

P1110362We decided to try paper backs first, so I gave him two of them to have a go at.   They cut in half just fine, so I had him make a secondary cut; ultimately cutting them into about 1/4 of their original size.  They were a little too ‘fat’ now that they were smaller, so I tore them in half.  Now to make them look like they were originally hard bound books instead of just paper backs.  This is where the FUN begins!

P1110363This is how they ended up looking.  I bought the skeleton keys wholesale a few weeks ago and decided they were a nice compliment to the old book bundles.

P1110365The keys are GLUED & TIED ON, btw.  Otherwise they might mysteriously ‘disappear’.

P1110366I tea stained some old dictionary pages to use, as well as some plain paper and used bits of tea stained cheesecloth here and there.  (because on REAL old hard cover books there is a cheesecloth looking fabric in the binding when you tear it off)

P1110367Natural just twine to bundle them up with.

P1110368In the aftermath of those I was left with the partial pages that had been cut away.  Hating to waste it, I bundled it up to sell too!

P1110369Tea stained the edges a bit (sponged on) and bundled them with tea stained paper.

P1110370Really only spent about 5 minutes on each of these bundles, so it’s not biggie if they don’t sell.  I can always use the scraps for crafting with, right?

P1110372So then I was in the mood to do MORE books!  Dug out every old book I had; paper backs and hard covers;  and started ripping off covers.

P1110374Decided to use some real old keys and tags on this batch.

P1110375Some of the torn away covers had ‘interesting back sides’, so I saved whatever looked reusable and repurposed it on the spines of the paper back books.

P1110376Found an old library card to reuse on the top book of this stack.

P1110377Gotta LOVE when the inner pages are old and yellowed enough that I didn’t have to add anything.

P1110378Some scraps of printed tissue paper worked well for a book end.

P1110382Fat bundles, skinny bundles.

P1110384Big books and itty bitty books.

P1110398All of those bundles went to my booth at Stars.

P1110399Displayed them in some weathered wood shadow box shelves on the back wall of my booth.

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Added some other things is the same color palette from elsewhere in my booth.

P1110401Plan to ‘finish off’ that entire black wall with ‘neutral tones’ next trip.

P1110406

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I’m thinking these books need to come home for a make over next trip!  Now that I have figured how to BETTER make them look old! (and have accumulated a lot of old keys to embellish them with!)  A little more time and effort spent on them will yield a better selling price.

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I have several nests under cloches right now, but the old book bundles are prefect on the cake stands and under cloches too!

P1110389Just tossed a couple of the little ‘cut pages’ bundles in with an old wood bowl full of vintage show brushes.

P1110413Cages filled with books are a nice display too!

P1110411So, what have YOU been working on lately???

* * * * * EDITED TO ADD * * * * * If you normally don’t read or leave comments, I hope you will read the second  comment left on this post and share your opinion on it with me.  Not trying to start another big debate, but I’m sincerely curious as to how you view this kind of thing.  And PLEASE know that these are OLD books that were already very tattered and worn and torn and tossed out by others.

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I LOVE following your blog! You are so creative! I think you have a wonderful vision, creating things by hand and selling them. Or finding things and selling them “as is”. Love that! I haven’t made it to the thrift store in a long time, but the next time I do go, I will be keeping an eye out for little things to craft and gift! 🙂 People LOVE homemade gifts!

  2. be careful destroying old books. I found an old “throw-away” hardback for 10 cents at a thrift store–turned out to be worth a couple hundred dollars. Just saying……….

    • They watch for those rare items very carefully at the thrift stores these days. I wanted to buy a book at Goodwill a few weeks ago and it didn’t have a price tag. The manager spent at least FIVE MINUTES pouring over it to be sure it was not valuable beofre they quoted me a price of $2.00. I’m sure ‘some people’ are lucky enough to happen upon a ‘rare find like that. But I view it like the chances of winning the lottery. Very slim! aj

  3. Personally I couldn’t rip a book to shreds or alter it. I am a book fiend and have my books from when I was a little girl still sitting on my shelf! I love libraries, could spend hours reading! I do know that too many things get chucked into landfill though and I weep at that problem. I worry about things being upcycled to the point though that in the future there will be very little for our future generations to look back on and recognise for what it really was in the first place. Having said that though, there are so many pieces in the world now made in mass production I think we crave the simpler things of old and enjoy them in their upcycled glory as a hint of simpler times.
    You are right when you say Goodwill will take the goodies which are worth anything. Here in Australia our local Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society shops now do Ebay! They sell online to make more money. I find it difficult on my lower income to buy anything in their real stores due to them marking things up!
    I can also tell you that many goodwill stores here ( we call them opportunity shops) will actually toss stuff out if not moved in a certain time frame. Many have stickers with the date on them they put on the shelf in store, so maybe upcycling books is a great way of using rather than losing.
    Let’s all have our differences of opinions, heck, makes life intriguing!

  4. If you purchased these items, then it is your business what you do with them. If you post about it on the internet, then you’re asking for others to share their thoughts about it. Having shared that, my opinion is that I like the look of the nekkid books. Would I do it to every book I own? Of course not. Would I do it to ones destined for the landfill? Sure.

    I’ll say that I don’t value the look of an item or the choice of someone’s use of an inanimate object so much that I would take the time to write a scathing comment on someone’s blog post and risk hurting their feelings. You can still read the books without the covers, but you can’t take back the hurtful things you say.

    In my opinion…

  5. Well, I’m an altered book artist and have taken many old books apart — many were falling apart at the seams, anyway, so I see my “repurposing” or recycling as a good thing. Sometime, please stop by my blog and you’ll see what I’ve done with an old photo album recently. I think your pieces are lovely — very charming!

  6. First and foremost I love your blog. Your blog is my absolute favorite and I check almost everyday to see the new projects you have been working on. I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you know what they say about opinions!

    I love how you take disgarded items and give them a new life. You have taken these old books that would eventually become trash and gave them new life. They are now books that someone will proudly display in their home.

  7. Geez people, get over yourself. I think the books are fabulous! And I plan on following your wonderful visions and trying my hand at it. You have great wonderful ideas and wait for every post! Love ya!

  8. I love your books. I like to find really old books that are headed to the garbage and turn them in to something special.
    My favourite story as a child was The Water Babies. Well I came across the book one day. It was so old and ragged but now it’s just gorgeous. I left pieces of the story showing and added pieces to go along with the page.
    I wouldn’t hurt a book. I give them new life. And I don’t see why that should be upsetting to someone.

  9. I just came across this post today, and boy do I wish I found it yesterday! I just dropped off several bags of books at both Goodwill and the paper recycling bin (depending on condition). I gather there was a post ranting about the desecration of the books, but some books are better used for decor than reading. I used to hate to see this type of use for books, but then a very interesting post by a librarian on the “weeding” of books. It truly made me rethink my stand on saving all books. Now I am thinking this would have been a great way to save some of those books from the recycling bin.


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